Wednesday, 3rd May, 2023

[Day 1143]

It was a beautiful spring day but we had things to do so we did not have much time to enjoy it. Last night, after the church meeting (which ran on for half an hour) I dropped my friend back at his house where Meg had been entertained by his wife in my absence. We did succumb, though, to the temptation of some Jamieson’s whisky on ice as a night cap and I had forgotten how much I actually enjoyed Jamieson’s (Irish) whisky. When we got home it was twenty minutes to midnight so we must have been chatting for the best part of two hours. Needless to say, it was a case of just dropping into bed the minute we got home. This morning we had a couple of telephone calls to make, after which we set forth along Bromsgrove High Street where we needed to consult with our bank over some financial transactions we are shortly to undertake. The Bank gave us some good advice and it was worth having a chat with them. Then we returned home and set to work making lunch from a series of ‘left-overs’ We were expecting a visit from a pysiotherapist (for Meg) but were slightly unsure about the timing. We are just getting to the end of our meal when the physio turned up and he seemed a presentable young man. He gave Meg a range of balance and some other routine tests, each one of which Meg managed to perform much better than when she is left alone with me. We ended the consultation with the promise of some information sheets with balance exercises on them and the possibility of attending some classes which may assist with some of Meg’s balance problems. One bit of advice which may or may not be useful was to experiment with a trekking pole when she walks outside so we will dredge these out of whereever we have stored them and then give it a go. Frankly, I am a little sceptical but it is worth trying anything once.

This afternoon was beautiful and sunny so it was a good opportunity to get the grass mown, which I did. At this time of year, the grass seems to shoot up in front of your very eyes and each day that it remains uncut, one can see the difference. I am reminded that once you start to cut the grass, the very act of mowing releases a hormone which stimulates further growth. The dandelions received their come uppance but I know that it is quite commom to mistake dandelion for another weed known variously as cat’s ear, flatweed and even false dandelion. The last time I studied the profusion of yellow flowers in the verges which border Kidderminster Road, I came to the view that they were cat’s ear and not dandelions but the ones in my own garden will need further study before I can come to a firm conclusion.

There has been an extraordinary foreign affairs story this afternoon. A couple of drones have attacked the Kremlin but it appears they were intercepted and destroyed before they could do very much damage. This has the hallmarks of an assassination attempt against Putin and the Russian military authorities have immediately blamed the Ukrainians and promised an immedate retatiation. For their part, the Ukrainians have categorically denied that they were responsible. Many analysts are of the view that Russia itself was responsible for staging the attack as it would then enable them to pursue the Ukrainianian leader with a vengeance. Whether the truth will emerge is unclear at this stage but certainly the Russians have plenty of incentive to stage such an attack upon themselves so as to mobilise support for the war, particularly in view of the fact that there is to be large military parade in the next few days to celebrate their victories over fascism ie. the end of World War II.

Tomorrow is Election Day and there is an innovation at play in the election process that is likely to provoke masses of controversy. Voter identification is to be required for all those voting in person at a polling station to combat a scale of voter fraud which is practically a non existent problem (of the order of one or two prosecutions per election) This is really just a case of voter suppression which the Republican party in the US have used to good effect to minimise the effect of the Democratic (largely black) vote. Just 50,000 out of an estimated two million voters without ID have applied for the new ‘free’ voter identification certificate ahead of England’s local elections. To compound the problems, in recent days, government ministers have refused to say whether those denied a vote because they have no ID will be recorded. It could be that the big story tomorrow night/Friday morning as well as the normal counts of gains and losses will be the prospect of thousands and possible hundreds of thousands of people denied the opportunity to vote. We are very unknown territory as things stand at the moment but the possibilty remains that this ‘voter suppression’ may become the really dramatic story on election night. Research commissioned by the government found nine per cent of people did not have ‘in-date and recognisable’ photo ID. And certain groups were less likely to have photo ID, making them more at risk from the new measures. Unemployed people, those with a severely limiting disability, and older people were all found to be less likely to hold a form of photo ID. Tomorrow night, we may find out the worst.